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New Year's Eve at the lakes

What are you doing New Year's Eve? Whether you're looking to have some fun with the family, taking your spouse out for some dinner, dancing and champagne at midnight, or both, there's no shortage of opportunities to be found in the lakes area thi...

The balloon drop at the conclusion of the New Year's Eve Bash at the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center has been a tradition since the celebration's inception in 2001. The 16th annual event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 31. (Tribune file photo)
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What are you doing New Year's Eve?

Whether you're looking to have some fun with the family, taking your spouse out for some dinner, dancing and champagne at midnight, or both, there's no shortage of opportunities to be found in the lakes area this year.

The fun starts early at the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center, which has moved its annual New Year's Eve Bash from nighttime to morning this year.

"We used to do it from 9 (p.m.) to midnight, but we just found that it was really hard for the some of the younger kids to stay up that late, and then their parents would need to bring them home and put them to bed," said Kim Bettcher, who has been coordinating the event since its inception in 2001.

While the event was eventually moved to an early evening celebration, from 6 to 9 p.m., the staff decided to make it a morning one this year, Bettcher said. The Bash will run from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 31.


"We thought we'd try something new," she said.

As always, the pool inside the BTD Aquatics Center will be open throughout the celebration, and there will be pool games, including the annual cannonball contest.

"Our cannonball contest has become a tradition," Bettcher said, adding that in the final round of competition, participants have the option of doing a belly flop, for which they earn extra points.

The contest is open to kids of all ages, Bettcher said, adding, "We have some adults who like to do it too."

The cannonball contest starts at 10:30 a.m., which is also the start time for bingo-another Bash tradition.

"We do bingo every year," said Bettcher. "It's family friendly."

There will also be games in the gym, and plenty of food, which is included in the admission price. Because this is a morning celebration, the usual menu of hot dogs, chips and beverages has been changed to granola bars and fruit, said Bettcher, adding that coffee would be available for the adults, along with juice or water for the kids.

As always, the admission fee remains affordable, at $5 per person or $20 for families of four and up. The cost is the same for members and non-members, Bettcher added.


Though this year's Bash will be the culmination of the DLCCC's "15 Days of Fun" celebration for its 15th anniversary, it will actually be the 16th annual event.

"We did do a little celebration for New Year's Eve that first month we were open," explained Bettcher.

But the Bash has grown a bit since then, as has the number of participants. Though she's enjoyed watching the event grow, Bettcher said, at the same time, she looks forward to seeing some familiar faces.

"We have families that come back year after year, and I've watched their kids grow up," she added.

The celebration will conclude with a countdown and balloon drop at 11:59 a.m.-a tradition that has continued even though the Bash no longer concludes at midnight.

"We wanted to give the kids the experience of New Year's Eve," Bettcher explained.

The DLCCC is not the only location in town that is hosting family-friendly activities on New Year's Eve. There's plenty of fun to be had across the parking lot from the community center at the Becker County Historical Society and Museum, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"We'll have board games and puzzles," said museum director Becky Mitchell, adding that this would also be the last opportunity to view the museum's holiday displays, as it will be closed the week after New Year's so staff can begin setting up the new January exhibits. There is no admission fee.


The warming house at the Peoples Park outdoor skating rink will also be open from noon to 4 p.m., and the Detroit Mountain Recreation Area will be open for skiing and snowboarding from 11 a.m. to midnight, as well as tubing from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information on costs for lift and rental fees, tubing passes and more, visit . (There is no charge for skating at Peoples Park.)

After putting the kids to bed for the night, there are also plenty of evening celebrations to be found. The Holiday Inn at the Lake will be hosting its annual New Year's Eve Party from 8 p.m. to midnight, with live music by Contention Band starting at 9 p.m. There will be complimentary party favors and champagne will be served starting at 11:30 p.m., with a New Year's toast and balloon drop at midnight. Appetizers will be served at 12:15 a.m. as well. Admission is $10 per person. For more information please call 218-847-2121. Over on West Lake Drive, Zorbaz will also be hosting a New Year's Eve Party starting at 9:30 p.m., with live music by Heart & Soul.

Mahnomen's Shooting Star Casino will ring in the New Year with $400 cash drawings every half hour starting at 5 p.m., as well as a $2,017 cash giveaway at midnight and additional drawings for $1,000 at 12:30 a.m. and $750 at 1 a.m. In the Mustang Lounge, the Liquid Motion Flair Bartenders will be entertaining guests at 6:15, 7:15, 9:15 and 11:15 p.m., and will be serving drinks on the casino floor throughout the night. Gary Lewis & the Playboys will also be performing in the Mustang Lounge starting at 7:30 p.m. Visit for details.

The community of Vergas will also be hosting two New Year's Eve celebrations, starting with the Vergas Lions Club New Year's Eve dinner and dance at the Vergas Event Center. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., with dinner at 5 p.m. and music by deejay Eilert Helm starting at 5:30 p.m. and continuing until 10 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person or $25 per couple, and may be purchased at Natalie's Serendipity and the Vergas Liquor Store or by phone at 320-226-1074.

As the Lion's Club celebration is winding down, Spanky's Stone Hearth will have live music by Sam Roth starting at 10 p.m., and fireworks at midnight. Call 218-334-3555 for reservations.

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at
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